Monday, December 26, 2011

Singapore to Malaysia by bus


A couple of weeks ago I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by bus. This was a truly unique and new experience for me, as one couldn't travel country to country by bus in Australia.

Going by bus is pretty straightforward, although the time compared to flying by plane the journey itself can be longer (5 hours in total by bus), however, the checking-in time is definitely shorter (generally only 15-20 minutes beforehand). That, and the security requirements are not as harsh (e.g., one can bring deodorant, shampoo greater than 100ml), so I think it makes for a simpler journey.

So this is an overview of the process and procedures that I went through which I hope will give you good insight so that you are prepared should you ever plan to go through a similar journey by bus like myself.

  1. Hopped on bus in Singapore for Malaysia - I hopped on a bus from Singapore which I had booked earlier, and loaded my baggage into the luggage compartment of the bus. There are many buses that travel from Singapore to Malaysia. The service that I used was called, Aeroline, which is quite comfortable (reclining seats as well as lounge seats available) and safe, though you just pay a little bit more for it. But for some extra sleep, why not? 

  2. Singapore immigrations checkpoint - The bus travels from central Singapore to the Singapore-Malaysia border but just before it goes over the border there is a Singaporean immigrations checkpoint which you go through.
Everyone hops off the bus for this and you can choose to leave your backpack in the bus if you like – depending on whether you have valuables in there.

At immigrations you go through the typical immigration procedures where you show your passport and your visa and/or employment pass (if applicable) to the immigrations officer.  

  1. Bus goes over bridge to Malaysia – Once everyone has gone through immigrations, you re-board the bus and it goes over the Singapore-Malaysia bridge and you will now be in Malaysia. Moments later you will reach the Malaysian immigration and customs, and you will need to hop off the bus. This time you take everything with you, including your backpack and baggage that is stored at the bottom of the bus. This is for customs.

  2. Malaysian immigrations checkpoint – This is a similar process as any immigrations checkpoint, you show you passport to the immigrations officer. It’s important here to make sure that your passport is stamped correctly, as I understand that the process leaving Malaysia will prove very difficult if the immigrations officer forgets to stamp your passport!
Following this, your luggage and items will also go through Malaysian customs and once through you can find your bus again and re-board it reloading all your luggage and belongings.

In terms of getting a visa for Malaysia, as I have an Australian passport there was no need for me to have a visa before arriving, and I can stay there for 3 months on a social visit. This will certainly vary for passport holders of other countries (see: http://www.2malaysia.com/visa.htm and http://www.malaysia.org.au/travel1.html for details on other countries, but it looks like most Westernised nations enjoy similar visa-free benefits). 


  1. Bus heads into your Malaysian destination – Everyone boards the bus again after going through Malaysian immigrations and customs. The bus heads over to your final destination, which in my case was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The trip was quite similar, with everything in reverse. Although customs in Singapore is typically more strict than with Malaysian customs.

Well, I hope this helps in your thoughts in journey planning. Enjoy your trip! J